How humans influence wild dogs' survival

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How humans influence wild dogs' survival

 A study published June 7 in Ecology and Evolution linking climate change to wild dog mortality finds that human activity is responsible for nearly half of all deaths.

How humans influence wild dogs' survival

African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) are listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List, with an estimated population decline of approximately 1,400 adult individuals. 


 Results from studies conducted by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), the Predator Conservation Trust and the African Wildlife Conservation Fund at sites in Kenya, Botswana and Zimbabwe indicate that higher ambient temperatures may increase the risk of mortality from other causes, a phenomenon that has also been observed in human studies. This new study indicates that these behavioral changes bring wild dogs into conflict with breeders and expose them to diseases spread by domestic dogs, causing 44 deaths in all African dogs that occurred at the study sites in Africa between 2002 and 2017. 


 According to the researchers, herd size plays an important role in the survival of wild dogs, managing that herds with many members are better able to defend themselves, care for individuals and avoid predators, competitors (for food and territory) and humans. spread of disease from one party and domestic dogs endanger these packs by dangerously reducing the number of wild dogs. 


 Lead author of the study, Dr. Daniella Rabaiotti of the ZSL Institute of Zoology, explains, "Higher temperatures, which limit the hunting ability of wild dogs, may also leave individuals undernourished, compromising their immune systems and more susceptible to diseases transmitted by domestic dogs.These pressures on herd size, which in itself is an important indicator of survival chances, could lead to the extinction of wild dogs. " 


 Dr. Daniella Rabaiotti continues: "From our study, it is clear that human impacts on African wild dog mortality are considerable. This is of particular concern because, being a highly social species with a strong hierarchy, the killing of individual males can have a disproportionate impact at the population level. If a male is killed, pack members may split up, reducing the group's ability to hunt, reproduce and fight off competing predators. " 


 However, all hope is not lost: "The good news is that our results indicate that the impact of climate change on African wild dog mortality could be mitigated both locally and globally; by reducing our individual carbon footprint, we can all contribute to the survival of these amazing animals. "


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